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Posts tagged "Maine"



I don’t know how else to say it. But you simply must read this piece we published this morning about Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s long dalliance with the state’s local “Sovereign Citizen” movement. It will blow your mind. It’s a mix of scary, bizarre and hilarious, with LePage’s staff trying, in profound discomfort, to reel him back to reality while he keeps meeting with the group, buys into various of their conspiracy theories, has a sheriff look into some of their demands and finally has his legal staff draft an opinion on the group’s theory that the Democratic leaders of the state legislature should be arrested and executed. Truly. It will blow your mind. This guy’s a governor.

H/T: Good.As.You

One thing about kids – they work cheap. Heck, they’ll sweep the front steps for a shiny quarter and wash your car for a dollar.

Paul LePage, the Governor of Maine, wants to utilize that good news and loosen the child labor laws.

Right now in Maine, you have to be 16 to work. LePage wants to lower that to 12 because “12-year-old children should not be restricted from working and learning life skills.”

I think the key words here is “children.”

At 12 years old getting through the day without springing a leak of hormones is work enough. You can’t drive at 12 years old so that means walking to work. In Maine. Where I hear it snows. And there’s more uphills than downhills.

While making for great stories to your grandchildren, I’m not sure being exploited as cheap labor is a “lifeskill.”

Republicans are determined to undo every labor reform we’ve had in this country since sweatshops burned to the ground. And trust me, they don’t mean having their own kids work. They mean your kids.

Hey, LePage, you know what they call a 12 year old forced into the workplace to take a job from an adult worker who needs a job? Two Democrats in training, my friend, that’s what you call them.

h/t: Juanita Jean at Crooks and Liars


I hope this guy becomes the next governor of Maine… So much better than Paul Lepage.


A governor who will punish journalists for doing their jobs: The Governor of Maine blacklisted 3 newspapers because they exposed a major scandal in his administration.


The Dramatic Spread of Legalized Medical Marijuana In America

Looking at the recent spread of liberalized marijuana laws across the United States, it’s hard not to think we’re entering some kind of Weed Spring. The latest state to act is Maryland, where on Monday the state senate approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana by 42 to 4, sending it to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to sign it into law. Several state legislatures are considering relaxing their restrictions on marijuana. A majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana, and 65 percent of young people support legalizing it, suggesting support will grow. The Justice Department still won’t say how it will deal with marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington — it’s still banned by the federal government — but officials in both states say they’re going ahead. “We intend to move forward with supporting the will of the people,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told Talking Points Memo.

That’s doesn’t mean there haven’t been setbacks for the pro-weed crowd in recent years. California voters rejected a legalization initiative in 2010, and Oregon voters did the same in 2012. Bills to legalize weed have died in Hawaii and New Hampshire this year. But as our map GIF above shows, the trajectory is unmistakably toward legalization. Here are four state legislatures debating whether to follow Maryland in 2013:

Oregon. The state House is considering a bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuanaUSA Today reported last week. House Speaker Tina Kotek says passing the bill this session would be a “heavy lift.” Voters rejected a ballot initiative to legalize it last fall.

Maine. Medical marijuana is so well-established in Maine that workers at a major pot dispensary protested last week because they said owners were blocking their efforts to unionize. A bill to legalize marijuana has 35 co-sponsors. ”There’s a momentum building and it’s clear it’s coming to the Northeast and to Maine,” state Rep. Diane Russell, who introduced the bill, said Sunday. “I would rather see us get ahead of the curve and be ready. The train is coming and if we bury our heads in the sand, we’re going to get hit.”

Illinois. The state House is working on a medical marijuana bill that would allow patients with certain diseases — like cancer, HIV/ AIDS, and multiple sclerosis — to use the drug if their doctor prescribed it and the Department of Health approved. Last week, two state representatives wrote an op-ed saying Illinois’ bill “can serve as a national model.”

VermontA state House judiciary committee held hearings last week on a marijuana decriminalization bill. Originally supporters wanted to decriminalize possession of 2 ounces, but that has been lowered to 1 ounce. The bill is expected to be voted out of committee next week.

Elsewhere: Alabama rejected medical marijuana in February, but in April, a state legislator introduced a bill to legalize 1 ounce for recreational use. Several states have pending medical marijuana legislation. Kentucky’s legalization of hemp will become law.

(Weed map GIF by Philip Bump.)

The head of the Republican Party in Maine thinks there might have been voter fraud in his state because “nobody in town knows anyone who’s black,” but black voters came in to vote on election day.

GOP state chairman Charlie Webster aims to find those who committed the alleged fraud fraud by sending thank you cards to voters, and seeing if they are returned to sender.

In an interview with an NBC affiliate, Webster said he was astounded by the “dozens, dozens of black people” who voted, and thought it was odd because he personally doesn’t know anyone who knows a black person in town.

Webster isn’t alone in using race to explain away Republicans’ losses this election season. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan claimed that Obama won because of the “urban vote.” His running mate, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, also said yesterday that Obama won re-election because of the “gifts” he gave black people, Latinos, and women. 

Maine has one of the smallest black populations in the country (just 1.3 percent of the state is black), it’s much more likely to find a black Mainer than an instance of voter fraud in the US. Voter fraud is less common than being struck by lightning, of which there’s just a 0.000001 percent chance.

H/T: Annie-Rose Strasser

Maine’s Independent Senator-Elect Angus King will caucus with the Democrats, he announced Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill. King cited the 2012 election as a driver of his decision, that joining the Democratic majority in the Senate “makes the decision easier.”   

h/t: Kyle Leighton at TPM


Maryland, Maine, and Washington make huge advances in legalizing same-sex marriage.

Florida: Senate:




Bob Macdonald, the mayor of Lewiston, Maine, is attracting national attention after appearing in a BBC documentary and demanding that the Somali immigrants who live in his town “leave your culture at the door.” Lewiston has become a haven for Somali immigrants who have fled their war-torn and poverty stricken nation. In the BBC documentary, which aired September 11, Macdonald said:

When you come here you accept our culture and leave your culture at the door. I don’t care if you’re white, you’re black, you’re yellow. I don’t care what color you are, when you come into the country, you have to accept our culture. Don’t try to insert your culture into ours.

The comments sparked outrage among the Somali community, but when Macdonald was asked to explain them, he went even further, telling them to go back to Somalia and accusing them of “shirking [their] duties” to their country:

When anybody comes here from any country, they have to embrace our culture. Now, do they have to give up their own culture at home? No. If they want to carry on you know, the Irish St. Patrick’s Day, the French, the Italians, everybody, they all keep their culture, but we all practice a unique culture, and that is an American culture that over 200 years has been developed…Why aren’t you over there fighting for it? If you believe in it so much, why aren’t you over there shedding your blood to get it? Why are you over here shirking your duties? These people are yelling that I’m insensitive to their culture. Well if it’s so great, why aren’t they back over in Somalia? Why are they over here?

h/t: Aviva Shen at Think Progress Justice

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) assailed the Affordable Care Act in his weekly radio address today and declared the Internal Revenue Service, which will require Americans to purchase health insurance or pay an annual fee under the individual mandate, as the “new Gestapo.”

“This decision has made America less free,” Le Page said. “We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo - the I.R.S..”

The Gestapo was Adolph Hitler’s official secret police that terrorized Nazi Germany, imprisoning and murdering thousands of people.

LePage took direct issue with the Supreme Court’s ruling which upheld the law not under the Commerce Clause, but under Congress’ taxing power.

“Perhaps what is most disturbing about this ruling, though, is that the federal mandate is considered a TAX,” he stressed. “Now that Congress can use the taxation power of the federal government to compel behavior or lack thereof, what’s next? More taxes if we don’t drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup?”

H/T: Igor Bobic at TPM

Across the country, Republican governors, many of them elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, have undermined women’s health, crushed workers’ right to negotiate collectively, made it tougher to vote and imposed ideologically informed slash-and-burn policies on their populations, often with little attention from the mainstream media. Where are they now? Culling voter rolls, beating up on unions, trying to sneakily ban abortion—but also, in some cases, having their power checked by a determined opposition and being forced to concede some defeats. And in a couple of cases, they’re under investigation. Here’s our 2012 list of the worst GOP governors.

10. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania

Corbett didn’t make our list last time around, but this year, the Pennsylvania governor has made up for lost time. His attacks on public education alone make him worthy of our Hall of Shame, but coupled with a massive tax break for Shell Oil—$1.7 billion in subsidies for the oil giant—his comments about taking responsibility for future generations ring awfully hollow.

"The governor’s proposal violates his own belief that the free market, and not government, should pick winners and losers," George Jugovic Jr., president of PennFuture, told The Morning Call. “

9. Nikki Haley, South Carolina

Fresh from campaigning in Wisconsin for her fellow union-buster Scott Walker, Nikki Haley is headed home, triumphant—to an ethics investigation.

Corey Hutchins at the Columbia Free Times writes:

Subpoenas could be fluttering all over Columbia this week as an ethics panel investigating whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied as a lawmaker decides who to call as witnesses in the case.

On May 30, the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reopen an investigation into the governor. The six-member panel had previously voted that there was probable cause to investigate, but then immediately dismissed the charges. After further consideration, and new information from GOP activist John Rainey, who filed the complaint, they’re giving it a deeper look. 

She’s also been rebuked by her state’s Supreme Court chief justice over a plan, approved by her appointees at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, to dredge the Savannah River to make it bigger for bigger ships.

8. Jan Brewer, Arizona

Jan Brewer made her name attacking immigrants, but she’s got plenty of other moves under her belt. In recent months, she cheerfully signed a bill cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood, and topped that off with possibly the worst anti-abortion bill in the country. Opponents call it the “Life Begins at Menstruation” bill because it bans abortions after 20 weeks, but claims that those 20 weeks start at the woman’s last menstrual period.

Brewer also joined the club of GOP governors who like kicking around public employees. She moved to offer public workers their first raise in years—but only if they agreed to trade in all their job security and let her fire them on a whim. She also signed a bill expanding school vouchers for Arizona students, giving public funds to parents to pay for private schools.

In a bit of good news, a judge did reject Brewer’s bid to dismiss legal challenges to the state’s infamous anti-immigrant law.

Oh, and she wants a third term.

7. Paul LePage, Maine

"To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job," Maine Governor Paul LePage told the Republican State Convention in May.

The governor wants to impose his own form of welfare “reform” on the state in the middle of an ongoing jobs crisis—and he’s even willing to make up stories and fudge numbers to get his way. And what does he consider “welfare”? Everything from disability benefits to MaineCare (the state’s version of Medicaid — healthcare for low-income people). His Medicaid cuts alone could hit 65,000 people.

6. Chris Christie, New Jersey

Chris Christie likes to bluster and swagger – it’s sort of his calling card. He’s frequently caught saying awful things—like a comment he made this winter on a marriage equality referendum. Christie said, “The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”

But what’s he really up to? Well, he’s getting sued, for one thing, for unilaterally pulling New Jersey out of a 10-state initiative aimed at curbing air pollution from power plants. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey filed a lawsuit, claiming the move violates a state law that required Christie to notify the public of his intent to pull out and allow for a public comment period

And teachers, who Christie famously called “political thugs,” are still on his hit list, though so far, his education agenda has been stalled. He’s trying to get rid of teacher tenure, making it easier to fire teachers and cut down on state aid for public schools, as well as push charter schools.

One teacher, however, has taken her fight to another level—Marie Corfield, the teacher in the famous YouTube video sparring with Christie over his education policies, just won a Democratic primary for a state assembly seat. Should she win, she’ll have a lot more opportunities to fight Christie’s attacks on teachers.

5. Rick Perry, Texas

Everyone knows where Rick Perry was for most of the last year, right? Failing in his attempt to capture the GOP presidential nomination. At least he provided us with some much-needed comic relief.

But a few things he got up to– when he wasn’t making headlines with ridiculous statements – flew somewhat under the national media’s radar.

Last year, Perry slashed $4 billion from schools, and protests against continued education cuts are ongoing. A Texas schoolteacher told AlterNet that after budget cuts, more kids are being squeezed into classrooms: “Pre-K is up to 26 now that they can have in a classroom, it went up from 22. It’s a different ratio for different grade levels. It’s 30-something for high school, it’s approaching 30 at the elementary level, which is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous to be expected to teach that many little people.”

4. John Kasich, Ohio

Governor Kasich took a big hit when voters decisively overturned his signature piece of legislation, an anti-public-union bill even nastier than Scott Walker’s, by 313,000 more votes than the governor himself had gotten the year before. And now there are investigations underway into whether he’s misused his power to consolidate control over his state’s Republican party.

But what else has Kasich been up to?

He also backed down on a contentious voter suppression law that would have narrowed early voting and made it harder for voters to get absentee ballots, signing a repeal of the law in an attempt to prevent it becoming a ballot measure that could drive progressive voters in November.

And he’s looking forward to a new law that would allow fracking in Ohio—one that might be the nation’s worst.

3. Rick Snyder, Michigan

Rick Snyder may be facing his own recall election—or at least, a group of determined voters who’d like to challenge the Michigan governor. Perhaps that’s why he’s allowed a tiny increase in the state’s education budget this year. But there’s a catch: those budget increases are tied to performance.

Snyder is best known for his state’s “emergency manager” law, which grants him the power to appoint a manager over towns he deems in need of an overhaul. Revamped under Snyder, the law gives the managers unilateral authority to fire officials, close schools, void union contracts (an apparent violation of the Constitution’s Contracts Clause), and hand schools over to private charter companies.

He’s still defending the law—and almost brought it to bear on Detroit. (The city’s public school system has been under emergency management for a while, but not the city itself.)

2. Scott Walker, Wisconsin

We know you’re sick of hearing about Scott Walker. Yes, he won his recall election and gets to stay in power—though it appears he won’t have the state senate to do his bidding anymore, if election results in Racine hold.

1. Rick Scott, Florida

Governor Scott, who reigns over the state synonymous with voter suppression and rigged elections in the minds of many Americans, is doing his best to live up to Florida tradition.

AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld explained:

Progressive voting rights groups and even county election supervisors from Scott’s own party are saying the businessman-turned-governor’s latest gambit—claiming there are as many as 182,000 non-citizens among the state’s 11.2 million registered voters and having his appointed Secretary of State send out an initial list of 2,600 names to be purged—has crossed a line in the Florida sand, topping previous voter suppression efforts, and may violate two federal voting right laws.

The Justice Department told Scott to stop purging voters, and several voters have been reinstated, but the GOP has no plans to actually give up its purge — Steve Rosenfeld reports that Florida is making all sorts of bizarre accusations against DoJ officials who are simply trying to uphold the law.

h/t: Sarah Jaffe at AlterNet